New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Seasonal Singles Survey

An overview of singles you might have missed that came out over the break.
The arts desk is back with some recommendations of singles you may have missed this week.(Illustration by Rachel Buigas-Lopez)

Winter break has ended and as you find yourself trudging through the snow (or lack thereof) en route to your first class of the semester whilst listening to the same-old wintry tunes, we’d like to help you touch base with the music you might have missed during your period of rest and relaxation.

“My Name is Dark – Art Mix” by Grimes

Grimes abandons the blissfully manic pop of 2015’s “Art Angels” and, instead, searches for something “darker.” Her babyish, teasing lisp is almost unintelligible, buried beneath a black swamp of reverb and echo. Growling guitars and kick drums pump in repetitious simplicity. Grimes has entered the decade — and maybe the end of the world — fully nocturnal. She pledges to never sleep, party till our final sunrise. “My Name is Dark” sounds like a cyberpunk club set on fire as Grimes and her tribe of nihilist night owls dance through the embers. Those who don’t understand her danger are simply “such a bore.” —Henry 

“Yummy” by Justin Bieber

Are the teens all right? Here’s a hill that I’m willing to die on: food and sex should not mix. For instance, when his chorus goes, “You got that yummy yummy…” it really rubs me the wrong way. This has standard Ariana Grande-style production and lyrics that rhyme enough so that you don’t have to worry about them — it’s a good song. Bieber is a great singer of desire — which comes across here as physical rather than emotional. Turns out he’s singing about his wife, but this is surely not a love song: it’s a club hit. If you put this on in the bedroom, everyone would get creeped out. “Baby,” Justin’s first hit, could rock anywhere from the dancefloor to spin the bottle. Now, that’s a love song: “Just shout whenever / And I’ll be there.” Thank you, Justin. —Charles

“Me in 20 Years” by Moses Sumney

Producer Oneohtrix Point Never teams up with Moses Sumney for “Me In 20 Years,” a heartbreaking ode to eternal loneliness. Sumney’s throaty falsetto is front and center, resting above a backdrop of simple synth-bass chords. Sumney sits alone in his bed, pondering if that empty space beside him will forever remain vacant, or if he’ll learn to allow love into his life. The song eventually builds with fluttering hi-hats and blankets of breathy harmonies, as does his hope: “Hold out / A little bit more / Just a little bit more.” Fear hasn’t led him to complete dejection just yet; companionship begs to be found. —Henry

“Lost in Yesterday” by Tame Impala

Classic Impala song with a — shall we say — groovy bassline, bouncy drums and a guitar that sounds like one of those giant slinky pop tubes. As usual, the weakest part is Mr. Impala’s voice, which strains for the high-pitched airiness of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” but has none of their humor or party rocking flamboyance. King of the sick riff, but I just wish Mr. Impala would shut up and let the slinky tube do the talking. —Charles

“(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On” by King Krule

The surrealistic slurs of King Krule are back and better than ever. Referencing the oddities of “Adventure Time” and the madness of Rene Laloux under the same breath, “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On” is the exact torchbearer you’d expect Krule to release before he unleashes a beautiful nightmare upon the world. As witchy as it is suffocatingly unmagical, this single from the upcoming “Man Alive!” relishes in the dolefulness of Krule’s crooning and the desolation of his strumming, serving as a brooding act of self-immolation the world can sonically partake in as they’re consumed by the flames of their own forge. —Nicolas

“Clench to Stay Awake” by The Garden

California art-punk has never felt as alive as it has at the hands of the Geminian auteurs that make up The Garden. Violently amalgamating sounds to generate their strand of unique punk, The Garden’s latest effectively manipulates the madness they engendered with “Thy Mission” by formalizing it into an explosive slow-burn as exhilarating as “Touch of Evil’s” opening minutes. Expressing pain through shrieks and endurance through scratchy vocalization, “Clench to Stay Awake” successfully transmits the barbarity of the pandemonium conjured at their concerts and the aggrieved hearts of The Garden’s fanbase within the same anarchic three minutes and 18 seconds. —Nicolas

Email Henry Carr, Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer and Charles Smith at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Arts Editor
Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer is a senior double-majoring in journalism and cinema studies. He has written for Le Cinéma Club and ScreenSlate, as well as programmed for Spectacle Theater and the Film-Maker's Cooperative. Nico is also an avid consumer of media: film, music, books — you name it! You can follow him over at @nicopedrero on Instagram, stalk his audiovisual habits by way of @nicolaspsetzer on Spotify and Letterboxd, or track his ramblings on Twitter at @NicoPSetzer.
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